I just came from the press conference for Yes Man, the new Jim Carrey high concept comedy (in this one he says yes to every opportunity offered him), and Nick Stoller, who wrote the first draft of the film, talked a little bit about an upcoming project he’s working on – a contemporary ‘re-imagining’ of the Jonathan Swift classic, Gulliver’s Travels.
Jack Black is starring in the film, which is being directed by Monsters vs Aliens helmer Rob Letterman. Stoller (who directed this year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall) said that the film starts with Black as a modern day guy living in New York City who falls into a fantasy world. In Swift’s book Lilliput and the other crazy lands to which Gulliver travels are presented as actual places in the contemporary world; Stoller’s version seems to be some kind of ‘falling into another dimension’ sort of deal.
While everybody knows Lilliput, Gulliver actually visits a bunch of places, including Brobdingnag, a land of giants, and Laputa, a kingdom in the clouds. He also encountered many creatures, like the vile, materialistic Yahoos (where we get the word yahoo. Swift was just coining terms left and right in this one. Really smart people will bust out brobdingnagian on you when describing something really big. And we all know lilliputian means small). Most adaptations of Gulliver’s Travels leave these out (and in doing so lose much of the Swiftian satire). I pressed Stoller on whether his Gulliver would travel beyond Lilliput; he said that they would go to some of the lands. I assume that means Brobdingnag and maybe Laputa. Likely right out is Japan, an actual stop on Gulliver’s original itinerary.